Well I didn’t have to pack I had it all right on my back Now I’m five hundred miles away from home
“500 Miles”, Rosanne Cash, The List
I deny being a gearhead, and seem to be falling further behind the major backpacking equipment trends each year. One example: most thru-hikers on the CT have moved to hoodie sunshirts– I really should look into these for next year. Several of my equipment list items are the exact same pieces from my 2012 Gear List.
I was recently forced to upgrade my cell phone after a hardware failure, and started worrying about the market trend of phones growing larger and heavier each year. My phone counts as part of my backpacking base weight (as defined as pack weight minus food and water), since it normally resides in a holder on my pack strap. How long until cell phone weights start seriously impacting base weight, which I try to keep under 10lbs for ultralight hiking?
Tl;dr Summary: Not to worry. My trail smartphones have not gotten unreasonably heavier in 10 years.
Details for Gear Geeks:
This year I celebrate my 10th consecutive year of doing a long backpacking trips each summer. A bulging lithium-polymer battery forced an unplanned cell phone upgrade.
For ultralight gear, I prefer small lightweight phones, but cell phone manufacturers seem to be introducing ever-larger screens and higher-capacity, heavier batteries. It is sometimes difficult to find low-weight new models that can handle the latest, more secure operating system versions. With 10 years of data about my cell phone choices (from past posts about gear lists, as well as a few unpublished gear spreadsheets) let us look at trends and make predictions.
Some backpackers are gear-heads, talking endlessly to each other about the latest equipment developments. I am not one of those. I do not breathlessly scan the latest trends and developments. I totally missed the sun-hoodie fad, only noticing this trip when seeing twelve day-hikers in a row wear them going the other direction in Hurricane Canyon. Much of my gear remains the same as in 2012– even a few of the same original pieces. Other items, made out of Cuben fiber, now Dyneema, have been replaced with the same model after excessive fraying, and I did not hunt very hard for a similar item from another manufacturer. So I am no authority on gear. However, for anyone who might care, here is my brain-dump on equipment used during a quite challenging trip.
Most of you should skip this post unless you are rabid gear-o-philes. Go on, get out of here.